One dead, one critical: And it could have been prevented
One college freshman is dead, and another one lies critically injured after a train roared over the trestle on which they were stargazing. As officials wring their hands over the November 17 death of 18-year-old Liberty University student Hannah Emmaline Williams and rightly point out that the public has no business on the private property of railroads, youth remain eternally curious, so it's unfortunate that few realize there is a way to survive an encounter with a train. As this reporter wrote nine years ago, "Lie down: Expert reluctantly offers safety tip," it can be as simple as letting the train thunder over you.
"It's not a sure-fire way to avoid getting killed," cautioned the Roanoke-based safety expert for Norfolk Southern, "but we have had individuals who laid flat and survived."
In Charlottesville, over Moore's Creek in the Woolen Mills neighborhood, there's a well-travelled railroad bridge which features a pedestrian walkway running the length of the elevated span. However, the Lynchburg bridge might not have been so well-equipped. If it were equipped with safety pods or walkways, they're not obvious in a satellite photo of the structure which stands nearly 200 feet above the James River.
–final two paragraphs added 11:29am, Tuesday, November 22.Read more on: train tracks